Tea is believed to have originated in China. Chinese people are still consuming tea thousands of years later. Over the course of centuries, tea made its way around the globe. Many countries from all over the world enjoy tea to this day. However, there are many differences between the world of tea in Asian countries and in the Western world. The differences are from how a tea tastes to how it is prepared. The one that seems to remain consistent throughout all the regions is that both oriental tea and western tea is still linked to social gatherings.
In China, oriental tea is considered highly important by their society. Tea houses can easily be found in a majority of Chinese neighborhoods as well as in various business districts. All throughout the country, a typical tea house in China will be flooded with students and business men in the later afternoon hours. In the late night hours, the house is overtaken by those who stay up late and night owls. There are also formal tea-houses in which one can find a wide range of both Chinese and Japanese tea leaves. Tea vendors are also prevalent in this area. They specialize in selling tea products like leaves, pots, cups and other instruments.
In the United States, however, western tea is often served as a substitute for coffee when served hot and a substitute for soda when served cold. Whereas China has the afternoon tea ritual, the beverage is consumed generally throughout the day in the US. Before World War II, green tea and black tea were equally preferred as the tea of choice for about 40% of its population. The other 20% preferred to oolong tea.
Because the war cut off their supply from China and Japan, the US turned to India which makes black tea. The black tea eventually took over as the preference of Americans. Green, oolong and white tea have all started rising in popularity again in recent years. They are considered to be health food. In recent years, coffee houses across the United States started to serve customers sweet, spiced milky tea known as chai, which is based on an Indian tea called masala chai. A tea from Taiwan called bubble tea is also gaining in popularity. Another popular trend with western tea is to drink a decaffeinated version, whereas this practice is not seen with oriental tea.